***written at the airport…wishing I had coffee…correction, good coffee…which they do not have here***
Christmas was a complete blur. However, that is for another post. This one is about my promotion ceremony.
Mom, Dad, and Auntie Judy were able to come out for the 22 Dec ceremony. My Lt, Harriet, planned everything…for which I am so grateful.
With wedding planning, work, the Air BNB that is now our house, it’s been really overwhelming. I asked Maj Hebert to keep it light hearted…because anyone who knows me well knows that if you hit the right button with something super nice and sweet, I will tear up. This fact still blows C. Boyd’s mind, who knows me as a hard ass. I don’t know why this happens…I also don’t know how to stop it. So if you keep something humorous, I will be ok. I also asked him to keep it short. But he outranks me and didn’t listen to either one….which ended up being perfect…i may be biased but it was the coolest promotion ceremony I’ve seen. I got to soak it all with a beer in hand.
His speech revolved around the word fight.
Here is the abridged version.
F: Maj H started talking to my family…about how they laid a strong foundation for me growing up talked about high school, getting into all the service academies and then deciding on USAFA.
He then brought out a wooden cross for hanging battle rattle (helmet, body armor, etc) that we use on deployments (as someone who doesn’t wear it in my every day job). He built it for me. Amazing.
I: Maj H talked about my time at USAFA, running track, then playing softball. He talked about how difficult the school is.
He talked about Sheppard. He brought out an IBA (body armor)…talked about how much we trust the integrity of this equip to save our lives.
G: gumption and grit. One of my troops brought out an M-4 (assault rifle for those not familiar). He talked about my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He talked about my mom dragging me through my MBA accounting class and how I told her I would never use it and then when I got to Turkey, they make me head of the accounting office and the resource manager (never happens for military really).
H: This is where I lost it. He talked about my job as a mortuary officer on base. While this fact doesn’t usually make me tear up in public, he talked about how important the job was and gave me dog tags for every case I worked with the names of the deceased on it. Then dammit I started tearing up (thankfully not ugly crying…you can’t bounce back from that). Our incredible secretary Talona had to bring me a tissue.
T: for teammate, he brought out a helmet (reminded everyone to make sure their chinstrap was buckled) and he talked about my time in Hawaii on the HQ Pacific Air Forces Staff. He talked about me going to the TACP schoolhouse and being the first female to graduate from the Prep course.
So freaking cool.
I managed to calm down for the oath and the pinning (my parents and aunt pinned my new rank on).
Then it was my time to talk. I did all my thank yous. I gave Harriet my Captains rank for when she pins on in May (totally stole that move from a woman who pinned on Colonel). I teared up when I toasted the fallen I knew (Capt Dave Lyons, Track teammate, Michael Hughes and Paul Goins…contractors from our task force that were killed in Afghanistan). Then I gained some composure. Maj Hebert may have been heartfelt and serious (with a little light heartedness) but I went all the way with the lighthearted. Nobody needs to see me cry anymore than they did (seriously, why do I do this?). So I had the proffer bring my aviator sunglasses and I gave Capt/Maj P’s life lessons as learned so far in the AF. #1: everything becomes more epic with Top Gun (and the Top Gun soundtrack started playing in the background).
So here they are.
#2: The air force will teach you about hard work and sacrifice. Sometimes it will involve blood, sweat and tears, sometimes this will entail scrubbing bird poop off a side walk at 5am, making flower arrangements at 11pm….and running in heels a lot
#3: rockets are scary
#4: america is awesome
#5: make friends wherever you go, you may end up firing a recently captured ak-47, setting off c4 and throwing grenades
#6: travel. take every opportunity you can to see the world, dancing in the Guinness factory on saint paddys day is worth the lack of sleep
#7: never say never. Say maybe. Because your mom will never forget to remind you how right she was.
#8: car Bombs sound like earthquakes. Best way to deal with either is laughter and a lot of cigars
#9: america is awesome
#10: you will get by with a little help from your friends
#11: hiking cures all ailments
#12: everyone should learn how to embrace the suck and the aloha spirt…perfect balance
#13: workout. One solid workout can change your life. Might land you the man (or lady) of your dreams. Pretty sure this is how Scott started falling for me.
#14: beaches are temporary. Sand in your car is forever
#15: you can do anything you put your mind to. You can even do things you never put your mind to. Like ruck 8 miles with 95lbs on your back. Or survive without a shower for five days
#16: I work with the best Airmen in the AF. We make magic happen and are grinding every day.
And that concludes my brief. Beer, snacks and killer cheesecake on me in the top gun lounge.
Annnnd we walked out to “You’ve Lost that Loving Feelin.” Boom.
The little reception afterwards had Jack’s cheesecakes that he made for me…better than the cheesecake factory and he made me four!!
Such an incredible memory. Hopefully I serve my Airmen and the Air Force well in this rank. Still feels like I am not old enough to wear this rank. Majors used to be old….now they are young and awesome.
Shout out to Big Country (fellow Tali-banned Aficionado Cigar club member…Kabul chapter) who made it out to the ceremony!
Thank you for all the love, support, cheers, and well wishes. I am humbled and excited! Huge thank you to Maj Hebert for making it so memorable and special for my family.